By The Hand Club Opens $6 million Center in Austin

June 4, 2013

We feel blessed and humbled as our kids, along with several dignitaries, families, friends and staff, “crossed over” from our old building to a gleaming new $6 million, 26,000-square-foot center that is being called the “gem of Austin.” The nationally acclaimed Marching Band of Proviso East High School led the way.

“This is a banner day for the nearly 1,000 kids who attend By The Hand Clubs in four areas of Chicago,” said Donnita Travis, founder and executive director of the club. “Today we open the doors to a new building that will provide hope and new opportunities for not only kids who otherwise might not have a chance, but for the surrounding Austin community.”

A long-time area ministry leader once described the location of the new By The Hand Center as “the darkest and toughest corner” in Austin. What a blessing that kids lives will now be changed on that same corner.

Dignitaries celebrating the opening included Ald. Jason C. Ervin (28th), Chicago Police Commander Barbara West, Rev. John Hannah of New Life Covenant Church, representatives from Novak Construction, Tragil Wade of the Dwyane Wade Foundation and others.

The new center was constructed in less than six months and opened in time for summer school activities.

You can see a virtual tour here.

The nationally acclaimed Marching Band of Proviso East led the cross over.

The nationally acclaimed Marching Band of Proviso East led the cross over.

Everyone driving by, walking on the sidewalk, or passing on the El towards the city, will see the hope in our kids' faces on the side of the building.

Everyone driving by, walking on the sidewalk, or passing on the El towards the city, will see the hope in our kids’ faces on the side of the building.

Donnita, joined with many dignitaries, as well as Novak Construction, as the red ribbon is cut.

Donnita, joined with many dignitaries, as well as Novak Construction, as the red ribbon is cut.

Team Leader Pajel Williams, leads worship, as we praise God for the new building.

Team Leader Pajel Williams, leads worship, as we praise God for the new building.

Rev. John Hannah of New Life Covenant Church gave an inspiring message about growing up in Austin and the impact an organization like By The Hand Club had on his life.

Rev. John Hannah of New Life Covenant Church gave an inspiring message about growing up in Austin and the impact an organization like By The Hand Club had on his life.

Everyone enjoyed celebratory cake and games in the new gym.

Everyone enjoyed celebratory cake and games in the new gym.

The teams now have their own classroom, so kids will have many less barriers to learning.

The teams now have their own classroom, so kids will have many less barriers to learning.

CBK kids were ready to enjoy their amazing new lounge.